Skip to main content
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Vilas Associates Competition

Deadline to apply: This competition is now closed.

To apply:

ELIGIBILITY: All tenure-track assistant professors and tenured faculty within 20 years of their tenure date are eligible to apply for this award.


The Vilas Associates Competition recognizes new and ongoing research of the highest quality and significance. Recipients are chosen competitively by the divisional Research Committees on the basis of a detailed proposal. Winners receive up to two-ninths of research salary support (including the associated fringe costs) for both summers 2024 and 2025, as well as a $12,500 flexible research fund in each of the two fiscal years. Faculty paid on an annual basis are not eligible for the summer salary support but are eligible for the flexible fund portion of this award. This award cannot be awarded more than one time to any faculty member.

Departments or programs with fewer than 15 faculty members, or a formally constituted interdepartmental group of six or more faculty members may nominate one individual. Departments, programs, or formally constituted interdepartmental groups with 15 or more faculty may nominate up to two individuals.


The department chair (the nominator) must open the application online by going to the application portal and logging in with their UW-Madison NET ID.  Once an application is started, the nominator may add collaborators (UW-Madison faculty or administrative staff) to help in preparing and assembling the application materials.  However, the department chair/nominator must be the person to submit the final application.

Nomination materials must be submitted electronically online. Please follow the online submission instructions. Each nomination should include three elements:

  1. A department or program letter of nomination
  2. A research proposal written by the candidate
  3. The candidate’s full CV

The letter of nomination should be brief, written in layman’s terms, and limited to an articulation of the candidate’s division, the process by which the candidate was chosen, and a description of the candidate’s research area at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and its significance. Do not exceed 300 words.

The research proposal should describe a single project relevant to the candidate’s field of study that can be accomplished in the two-year period of the award. The proposed project can be part of a larger study, but it will be important for the candidate to specify the work to be done during the period of the Vilas Associates award and the expected use of the flexible research fund. This proposal cannot exceed four double-spaced pages, not including references.

Contingencies: Faculty receiving summer salary from the Vilas Associates Program cannot receive summer support simultaneously from the Research Committee; therefore, any summer support awarded by the committee for summers 2024 or 2025 would be withdrawn to permit acceptance of the Vilas Associates award. The terms of the Vilas Associates Program stipulate that the periods for which the Vilas grants are awarded are not negotiable.

Faculty cannot be awarded two Vilas awards concurrently.  Therefore, anyone who already holds such an award (e.g., a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorship) and is awarded a Vilas Associates Award, must choose one award, and relinquish the other.  This does not apply to the Vilas Life Cycle Professorship.



  • The award covers two fiscal years; the periods for which the grant is awarded are not negotiable.
  • A new fund 133 account will be created for each year and is assigned by Research and Sponsored Programs.
  • Account number and allowable expenditure questions should be directed to Research and Sponsored Program’s Ryan Albrecht (
  • The award is set up and administered through the winner’s own department/college.
  • The award provides for each year: 2/9ths summer salary for the award winner and a flexible research fund (see more details below).


  • RSP will assign two 133 accounts, one for each of the two fiscal years.
  • Account assignment is made in June, prior to the start of that fiscal year.


  • The winner’s department processes all expenditure forms (IADS, payroll, requisition, etc.) through their own college.


  • Faculty who are paid on an annual (12-month) basis are not eligible for the summer salary portion of a Vilas Associate award.
  • Summer salary is provided only for the July and August pay periods, no exceptions are allowed.
  • Vilas Associate summer salary is limited to the 2/9ths of the lowest paid full Vilas Professor. In cases where the Vilas Associate’s academic year salary is greater than that Vilas Professor, the Vilas Associate’s summer salary amount will be equal to the 2/9ths of the full Vilas Professor’s salary.  This amount is subject to change each fiscal year.  Summer salary rates can be found on RSP’s Vilas Awards website:
  • Fringe benefits associated with faculty summer salary payments are provided as part of this award.


  • A flexible fund is provided for each of the two fiscal years. Flexible funds not spent during that fiscal year are lost, and a carryover of the fiscal-year-end balance is not allowed. Per the terms of the Vilas Trust, there are NO exceptions.
  • Flexible funds may not be used to provide additional salary support for the award winner or other faculty members.
  • If flexible funds are used for other salary support, the associated fringe benefit and tuition remission charges will also be paid from the flexible fund.
  • Items purchased with flexible funds are subject to the same State rules, guidelines, and procedures as items purchased on State GPR funds (fund 101).


Who begins, prepares and submits the application online? 

The department chair (the nominator) must begin the application by going to the application portal and logging in with their UW-Madison NET ID.  The nominator is able to add collaborators (faculty or administrative staff) to an application to help in preparing and assembling the materials. However, the nominator must open and submit the application.

If you experience technical issues in adding collaborators, please send an email to:

When will applicants be notified?  When will awards begin?

The evaluation will be completed in early February 2024.  Awards will begin July 1, 2024.

How is the tenure date pinpointed in determining eligibility for this award?

It is when the faculty member’s tenured status becomes effective, such as with a change reflected on their payroll account.  (It is not the date of the tenure committee’s vote.)

If you have questions regarding the nomination or submission process, or if you experience any technical problems, please contact or the Associate Vice Chancellor appropriate to your division (608-262-1044).